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Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Spencer Tunick/Nudity/Sensuality
Spencer Tunick is a Brooklyn-born photographer. He's best known for documenting large groups of nude people in public places. He's currently shooting in Caracas, Venezuela. You can read a story about that here. The thing I find the most amusing is that he's been arrested multiple times while shooting in the United States. It's just another illustration as to why we're viewed by many as such a prudish nation. If were such prudes, why do we have such an astronomical rate of abortions and sexually active teens? It's such a contradiction. We're a repressed nation that acts out instead of dealing properly with our emotions. In the United States, women strive to achieve a bodily perfection yet are often uncomfortable in situations requiring nudity. The culture in the United States instills a high degree of body shame when compared to many other countries, yet it is certainly nothing like the repression of women in many Islamic countries. Although this conditioning has its origin in the philosophy of the Puritans, it is today expressed as civil law which applies to all citizens. This is not without negative consequences. Some people have been taught such a high degree of body shame that for them going for a necessary medical exam,such as a pap test or breast exam, is traumatic and some women avoid these life saving measures altogether. Our society's mandate that we view our bodies with shame and disgrace has a negative impact upon our self image. Dr. Alayne Yates, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona, has shown that in cultures where nudity is common, children mature to be less critical of bodies in general. Additionally-the anthropologist Margaret Mead said that the acceptance of nudity "would ultimately lead to a decrease in neurosis and certain types of crime." Overall,there are definite individual and societal benefits to the acceptance of our bodies. Social conditioning and laws which perpetuate a sense of body shame and disgrace have very negative consequences-especially to women. Europeans generally do not see what the big deal is with nudity. They are not shocked by the exposure of the human body, but we are. Personally, I think their attitude toward the human body is much better then our American attitude. They simply don't associate all nudity with sexuality and aren't embarrassed by their bodies. While nudity can be a part of sexuality/sensuality- it's certainly not the end-all, be-all...I think we tend to forget that the physical aspect is just a single facet of it, and the mental and spiritual side of sensuality tends to suffer. Now, when you have all 3 going on, and in balance, you've hit the jackpot- the transcendent blissful trinity.
posted by Lisa at 3/21/2006 03:46:00 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


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